Friday, August 24, 2012


Business As Usual on the TECO - Ex-HART Line White Elephant

Well, I guess we’re ramping up to the RNC. This little charmer was in my email this morning: The Streetcar has extended hours until next week! Oh goody! Now I can ride nowhere longer. The fact that TECO, or Tampa Electric Company, (those Robber Barons) have annexed what used to be an expensive tax-payer funded, white elephant for the Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit Authority and slapped their name on the cleverly painted purple and yellow street cars in a flat city, no less, has not lowered my electric bill, nor has it lowered the price of a bus ticket, nor has it made Tampa any prettier or shinier. And the fucker still rides around the town empty, going nowhere. There's a metaphor in here, but I don't care.

We still have the same batch of rapscallions, drama queens, grandstanders, gladhanders, and backstabbers in the local government and City Council, as always. Our mayor, Bob Buckhorn, a Republican, I believe is really trying to do a decent job, for a GOP'er. He took office after our beloved Mayor Pam (Iorio) by law could not run for another term. During the2000 presidential election recount, she was the president of the State Association of County Elections Supervisors propelling her into the role of spokesperson.  

I personally became pro-Bob Buckhorn when he told the head Gasparilla Pirate to “go to hell” when the guy asked for the keys to Tampa during Gasparilla days this year. This had never happened before. I believe I recounted then that I thought this whole thing is kind of a Mardi-Gras want to be thing and stupid. Ma told me about Gasparilla when I first moved here; I thought it was one of her usual deranged stories. It wasn’t. So, imagine my glee when I heard Head Pirate had to fum-faw, pick up his dentures, mutter to himself and go off with his merry band of geriatric rich people, get drunk and “sack” Tampa sans keys. I’m certain the ceremony where the Pirates give the keys back, or the Mayor takes them back was one Dumb Show and awkward, unless they were drunk. Maybe they were drunk and awkward. I would have paid to see that.

Anyway, now we have some REAL pirates coming to town. Pin-stripes and all, but not a scimitar, parrot, peg leg or eye patch between them. Maybe some monkeys, lots of doubloons and I’m sure a Smee or three in the crew. Lots of misogynistic, antagonistic and bombastic behavior and this is only between the party members. Did anyone mention party? As in unity?

What got me a rantin’ so early, is this: there are freaking black helicopters in pairs flying low overhead. The damned things woke me up before the crack of noon, so I’m already cranky. We’re less than a mile from Ground Zero Convention Central, so of course the cosmic stick is already stirring the anthill. The buses are already loused up. Usually by Friday, they’re so off schedule that the every-20-minute number 2 bus is every-30 to 45-minutes. I haven’t seen one yet, because the drivers are probably all at the Marion Transfer Center gawking at the helicopters, parked across the street.  

Do you know how animals, especially cats act when the barometric pressure starts dropping, or when there is an impending earthquake? They tend to become agitated. They may dart around, or dig holes, climb trees. The behavior is mostly purposeful, but not necessarily fearful. I feel rather like that. I have to go out. I don’t normally do this. I went out on Wednesday for groceries; not usually “my” chore, but JC and I cover for one another. He has an infected big toe and could not go to class and store as he usually does. I am beyond terrified and he is going to his doctor today. I am going back to the store for staples: another case of water, a few more canned goods. We are pretty well set if Isaac does hit us head on. I’m terrified of that toe. I want him to go NOW. If something were to happen, and we can't get him to TGH and they can't get to us because of Isaac, I shudder, so he goes NOW. He's my dear. He's 65, has had a horrid life and so richly deserves a loving, kind, fun life. This is my goal, my passion. Moving on from Precious Moments; I mist up.

The fact that my PD leaves me with my strength and speed, just very little motor control illustrates to me how weird an experience this disease can seem. While I had the flu, I had more sensory issues than normal. Touch and taste were weirder than normal. With the abatement of my flu symptoms, back came the tremors and the pains. The pains are just unbelievable. They’re like a crystalline needle in an arm, for a split second. Or they can be for 5 minutes. Now, they are in a toe, a foot, eye, cheek, my inner ear, or the back of my leg, or skull. Now, they’re all at once, or just a few places. The pains are distracting and weird, and of different durations. In between all that, I get numb patches. Now we’re having fun! But, they won’t kill me.

So, on Wednesday, I’m hauling this cart around in the store and I’m hoofing it. People were staying out of my way for a change. That, or word is getting around about the cane and the poor impulse control. I stopped to get a couple of cases of drinking water. @$%(^ I have the one cart in the store that has no lower rack. I grab one of the cases of water that has 24 15.9 oz bottles and, thinking it’s going to be a chore, steel myself to clean and jerk it up into the basket of the cart… and I throw it right over the top of the cart to the other side. Thank God there weren’t any small children playing; they would have been crushed. It took no effort whatsoever.

It’s been many years since I could do anything at all like that. Two years ago, I couldn’t walk I was so weak. I not only can walk, I can do a pretty mean jog. There was a physical therapist at Tampa General Hospital who was convinced that I wouldn’t walk again. That I would stay weak, if not die. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to live under those conditions. The funny thing is, I never had that epiphany or that “Let’s win one for the Gipper” speech with myself. I just kind of did it. Kind of glad I did. I wouldn’t be here wasting your time, now would I? Hmmm?


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